By Mellow DeTray

Here’s a recap of Thursday night’s (Oct. 27, 2022) Des Moines City Council Meeting:

Public Comments
The majority of commenters expressed concerns over development of the Marina, specifically the 3-story waterfront hotel plan. One said the plan was not well received by the community, and called for reestablishing the Planning Committee. Not only would a waterfront hotel block the view of users of the park, it would create parking issues and restrict access for other users, according to comments.

Burning Boat Festival for New Year’s Eve Celebration
Amy Cook Thomas has been working with Brad Cheney from the fire department on New Year’s festivities that will involve the ceremonial burning of a specially constructed boat. Festival goers will have the opportunity to write something they want to let go of for the new year, and it will be burned with the boat. Maritime High School is building the boat for the event, which will be free of varnish and burn as cleanly as possible.

The event is to raise awareness for mental health, specifically suicide awareness and prevention. Proceeds from the event this year are going to Valley Cities Behavioral Healthcare. The event has an online fundraising platform, and has been sponsored by a local grocery, dentist, Sound Transit, and others. Council moved unanimously to donate $500 to the event, which will have 400 attendees, music, and propane fire pits for marshmallow roasting.

Quarterdeck: New Owner, New Lease with City
Mackenzie Meyers is set to take on ownership of the popular waterfront business, four years after Ken Rogers opened and began serving food & drinks, as well as providing a welcoming gathering spot. Ms. Meyers has been managing the Quarterdeck and plans to continue business as usual. The City owns the land in question, and Council discussed whether to commit to a 10-year lease with this new owner. Two Councilmembers thought this needed more discussion in light of the overall marina plan. Nevertheless, Council approved the new lease with a 5–2 vote.

Proclamation: Small Business Saturday
In order to inspire more people to shop at locally owned small businesses, Council proclaimed the Saturday after Thanksgiving to be Small Business Saturday, a day that has contributed substantially to the revenue of small businesses. Council hopes the community will support these businesses on that day, as well as throughout the year.

Preliminary Annual Budget for 2023
City staff presented the preliminary 2023 City budget recommendations. There have been several macroeconomic impacts to the budget, including Covid, inflation, high demand, and labor shortages. The instability of the market makes it impossible to accurately predict Cost of Living Adjustments, or COLA, so the recommendation is to go with an 8% increase in salaries.

The City has had difficulty hiring, especially for higher level positions, and is shifting to providing more training for less experienced staff members. In addition, the plan includes certifying staff to give in-house safety and driving trainings, which are required on a regular basis, to other staff members. Being able to give these trainings in-house on an ongoing basis will save money. The finalized budget recommendations will be adopted, if approved, at the Nov. 17 meeting.

6 Month Development Moratorium Passes
Council was asked to enact an emergency six month moratorium on new development in the 73-acre area south of 116th Street, effective immediately. The moratorium will allow the City time to study the area, and how the businesses that have been built there are affecting the neighborhood, in order to create the best plan for increasing family wage jobs and liveability. Neighbors have expressed concern over the increase in truck traffic, after recent development.

The moratorium won’t affect applications already submitted, or applications for upkeep and improvements of existing properties. This pause on development will allow time for more input from within the neighborhood. A public hearing date will be set. The moratorium passed with a 5–2 vote.

Mellow DeTray is a Seattle native who has spent the last 16 years raising her family in Burien. She has volunteered at many local establishments over the years, including the Burien Library, Burien Actors Theatre, and Hot Feet Fitness. After working for ten years at the Burien Community Center, she moved on to teaching fitness classes and to work the front desk of a Burien yoga studio. For many years Mellow kept a moderately popular cooking & lifestyle blog, and she had a brief stint in political journalism during a local election. Clear and informative writing has always been a side hobby of Mellow’s and she looks forward to bringing you unbiased coverage of City Council meetings.